Throughout October we saw widespread strikes, from bins to the post and airline flights to buses – and it’s not yet over. (See article The Winter of Discontent: the sequel?) Last November, BA cut the number of cabin crew members, despite strike action, which delayed hundreds of flights. This issue has yet to be resolved and over the weekend, there were further talks to try to reach some agreement. However, no truce was reached and so further strikes are now expected. Indeed, the Unite union announced the results of another ballot of cabin crew, showing even larger support for strike action.
However, BA is not the only airline facing strike action. Some 4000 pilots at Lufthansa, a German airline, called a four-day strike, following disputes over job security. This has led to thousands of flights being cancelled and thousands of passengers left stranded. Although the strike was suspended after one day, the dispute is not settled.
The stimulus for this action appears to date back to the huge turnover that Lufthansa made in 2007, with pilots feeling they should have a share in this success, along with its recent purchase of Austrian Airlines and the need to turn this into a profitable enterprise. The Lufthansa pilots are concerned that foreign pilots will be brought in to replace them in order to reduce costs. The airline fears that this strike could cost them about £21.9 million per day. With both sides unwilling to yield, it looks as though many passengers may find themselves stranded for a bit longer.
Lufthansa pilots’ strike disrupts thousands BBC News (22/2/10)
BA expecting flak to strike – as Lufthansa suffers Management Today (22/2/10)
Lufthansa four-day strike begins BBC News (22/2/10)
Lufthansa strike hits Switzerland Swiss News (22/2/10)
Lufthansa flights grounded by strike Telegraph, Oliver Smith (22/2/10)
Lufthansa pilot: “If we crash the company goes down” BBC News (22/2/10)
Christmas travel threat as BA cabin crew vote on strike Times Online, David Robertson and Philip Pank (27/10/09)
Staff and customers weary as airlines change BBC News (22/2/10)
BA strikes likely after result of crew ballot Times Online, Philip Pank (22/2/10)